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Lake George Winter Carnival wraps up challenging season

During Lake George Winter Carnival’s final weekend for 2012, a group of polar swimmers relax on Shepard Park Beach before plunging into cold waters. About 65 swimmers, many in costumes, braved the waters of Lake George.

During Lake George Winter Carnival’s final weekend for 2012, a group of polar swimmers relax on Shepard Park Beach before plunging into cold waters. About 65 swimmers, many in costumes, braved the waters of Lake George. Tim Weatherwax/One Shot Photography

— Despite fickle weather, the Lake George Winter Carnival prevailed in 2012 during its four-week run that concluded Sunday, organizers said.

The two mainstay elements for activities at the renowned winter festival — lake ice and a blanket of snow — were all but absent this year in its four-week run in February.

For a half century, the carnival has hosted a variety of races on the lake ice, as well as sled dog racing, toboggan rides and snowmobiling on thick blankets of snow.

This year, the lake never froze over as is traditional. There was also just a few dustings of snow, which never accumulated to any substantial degree.

But Mother Nature’s obstinate behavior didn’t faze Carnival volunteers, who moved some events off the lake and introduced new activities that weren’t weather dependent, event spokeswoman Nancy Nichols said.

“All the people working on the Carnival this year did an outrageous job dreaming up and conducting events that weren’t ice or snow dependent,” she said.

Whether it was turkey bowling, hula hoop contests, softball on the beach, zumba sessions or monster truck rides, visitors had plenty to do this year due to the Carnival volunteers’ creativity, she said.

The weather dampened attendance anyway, as warm weather and lack of snow cover didn’t infect the public with cabin fever, or prompt them to relate to winter activities, she said.

But he third weekend of the carnival did host robust crowds due to sunny weather and school vacation, she said.

Nichols praised the Public Works employees of both Lake George Village and Warren County, who arranged permits for relocated events, stockpiled man-made snow, and shifted logistics for the event that routinely attracts thousands.

This past weekend was relatively slow, due to light snow and wind on Saturday, and warmish weather on Sunday.

Several of the weekend’s substituted activities, non-weather-dependent, were squashed by unanticipated developments.

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